PHOENIX, Arizona, April 9. FRANCE and Italy started filling their world championship team rosters today, and a couple of the country's stars put up some fast times. Camille Muffat's 4:04.16 in the 400 free is the top time in the world this year but still about three seconds slower than she swam last year to win the Olympic gold medal. Jeremy Stravius and Camille Lacourt, who tied for gold in the 100 back at the 2011 worlds, look like they'll get a chance to swim in Barcelona after qualifying first and second for tomorrow's final. Eric Ress, who just competed for Indiana at the NCAA championships, will be the third seed in finals and will try to break up the duo. Yannick Agnel has decided to skip the 400 free at worlds, similar to what he did last year to success, and will be swimming in the 100 and 200 freestyles. Fred Bousquet and Florent Manaudou, virtually brothers-in-law, went 1-2 in the 50 fly final, with Bousquet almost getting under 23 seconds with a 23.00. Manaduou was 23.14.
Down in Italy, Federica Pellegrini showed that she has potential to be more than a middle distance freestyler, winning the 100 back with a 1:00.69. Mattio Pesce won the race of the day in Italy, the men's 50 breaststroke, with a time of 27.32 that leads the world rankings. Fabio Scozzoli, who placed second in the 2011 world championships in the 50 breast, will get the chance to get back on the world championship podium with his runner-up time of 27.38.
With a little more than two weeks to go until the start of Australia's world championship trials, the organization has announced Mark Anderson as the CEO, with Michael Scott officially named as the new high performance director. Anderson is stepping down as CEO of Hockey Australia and will begin work with Swimming Australia on May 6, while no official date has been set for Scott's first day. The federation is still looking for a new national team head coach, a position they hope to fill before the start of the world championship trials.
If you were inspired by the American women winning gold in water polo at the 2012 Olympics, and you live in southern California, you can meet three of the players during a special clinic run by USA Water Polo on Friday in Riverside. Tumua Anae, Courtney Mathewson and Kelly Rulon started Dream Gold with the mindset of inspiring youngsters to get into the sport and foster a new generation of champions. For more information on the event, go to idreamgold.com.